Tag Archives: messiah jesus

One Together in God and His Christ

Having prayed to the Father first for his disciples that they may be one “as We are”, Jesus then prayed for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20-23). He therefore prays for you and me —we believers are included in His prayer and ongoing intercessions!

So what is He praying for us, we who have believed in Him through their word? The answer follows with some staggering ‘purpose clauses’. In this post, we look at the first of these.

That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;

This is the same request he made for the original disciples: that they may be one “as we are”, the Father in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. This is undoubtedly the will of God for you and me, for all followers. Nothing has changed, though we have changed and not for the better.

We are thus connected to the original disciples in the Spirit by the same will of God in Christ! We are meant to be together with them, immersed in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. No change!  There is no change in covenantal privileges and responsibilities from them to us despite the passage of 2000 years. We live in the fellowship of the saints!

This awesome connection, oneness, S. Paul calls the Body of Christ. Jesus calls it My ekklesia.

This is of critical importance in how we understand our relationship with other believers, and how we look at ekklesia. That’s the original word used and badly translated into English as church, where it comes across as a religious concept. The word ekklesia in the original simply meant a gathering of people for a purpose. It had no religious connotation whatsoever. None.

The only ekklesia that is actually of God is the one Jesus is constructing—Matthew 16:18. Humans cannot build this. And we must not try. We are not commanded to do so.  And yet we fail to do what we are instructed—to bring in the harvest, to teach others to be disciples, to love one another and to be ONE together as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You.

But we can be so busy trying to help Him build churches, we fail to experience the glory He wants to display in us. He, not us, is the Architect and the Builder of His ekklesia. We are together members of His glorious Body, the living stones in this spiritual building. Together in Him.  ONE.

And in this glorious fellowship, this temple of God, we are to be one together. One not many.

Jesus’ prayer for you and me, all believers, constantly before the Father, is for our oneness. Do you see that excludes so much activity taken for granted in today’s religious organisations? Thus denominational exclusiveness is a grave error. Control of others is anathema. Selfishness, vainglory, hatred, self-righteousness, arguments, self-justifications, dogmatism causing splits, must all be thrown out.

When we are united together in actually doing what he has commanded—rather than what our precious theology or doctrines or opinions or religious organisations want—when we are abounding in the actual work of the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit, bearing witness to Him, participating in the making of disciples, reminding, teaching, urging, persuading, encouraging others—in our joy and gladness in serving Him and one another, we leave behind those obstacles to oneness.  We forget our own agendas in favour of His agenda—our ONENESS.

 

It’s not about you. It’s not about us. It’s all about the Father and His Christ. Right?

HE CAME HERE

Here. Yes here. Planet earth.

Sent.

He arrived in the humblest of circumstances. Yet at the certain will of the Father.

Helpless. Formed in the womb of a Jewish girl. Made of the humus of earth. Like us. For our sakes.

Vulnerable in the extreme—like us. For our sakes.

(The conspiracy to get him starting relentlessly at his arrival—Herod the pawn obeying his gov/god to kill him. He will experience this again and again, and repeatedly he will be spared until his hour, his glorious hour, has at last come.)

Born to die. Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth.

Sent—had to grow like all of us—inside a woman. Had to be nursed, cuddled, nurtured—like us. For our sakes.

Think of it and be shocked. Disturbed.

Came leaving behind all those treasures of wisdom and knowledge, coming with an uneducated mind, learned about living on this earth—like us. For our sakes.

Can this really be the Logos, the eternal One?

Utterly unexpected. His own people totally unprepared for this.

And who is prepared to experience him, his loving confrontation, his transforming authority? Who will hear his voice and rush into his embrace?

Now Christmas is over. Let’s get back to normal living? Without him, the real Jesus.

Now the packaged Jesus disappears from the shelves. The religious ‘advent’ of baby Jesus in a manger. The plastic churchy copy already fading waiting for the next fad to trifle with?

Yet He remains, calling new sons and daughters to his movement—calling those who have the ears to hear to assemble around him. The true Christmas Day began and has not ceased. This is the DAY when his voice can still be heard. It remains.

Hear his voice and turn before that DAY ends.

For it will end. Sooner than you think.

 

THE SERVANT WILL BE REJECTED

Last time we looked at the first of five stanzas we find in this most significant prophetic passage. Let’s now look at Isa 53:1-3 which forms the second stanza, beginning at Isaiah 53.

·         53:1  Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Our history as human beings is a litany of unbelief in the One who is there. More. Unbelief that he has spoken. Unbelief in His wondrous creation and unending provision. Unbelief in His intent to bless us and give freely to us of His abundance.

This unbelief began in the Garden even as the gracious arm of the Lord was revealed to them–us. Though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize Him. The Lord spoke and everything we see, hear, taste, smell, feel and touch sprang into existence. And remains, despite our exploiting and wasteful ways! Still intact, day after day. Yet we took no notice of His voice and turned away from Love and Value and Truth and listened to the speech of the liar and believed, yes believed, a lie! We trusted, not in Him, who loved His creation, who fathered us after His own character, who spoke lifegiving  words to us, but we trusted in the words of the liar, the deceiver, the accuser, the spoiler, the harbinger of death.

How could we have been so stupid? How can we go on believing the Liar instead of the Lover?

He did not give up on us. He pursued us, revealing His mighty arm again and again. But how few of us believed His words! At last, He sent His Son in person, out of Himself, but in human form, in perfect man-ness to His own ancient people. Again the arm of the Lord was revealed in word, in deed, in love. Clearly, demonstrably. 

·         53:2a   He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.

He arrived, the best kept secret. Experienced refugee status in Egypt. Then grew up in Nazareth his home –what a surprise. Can anything good come out of Nazareth, we asked. He did not grow up before the world, before the media, before the crowds. He grew up before Him, his Father. A tender shoot. Vulnerable, like us. Needed Mum. Needed protection. Needed an education. No flamboyance. No displays of power. No regal ideas, no pomp and circumstance, no triumphalism. Utter humility. A mere root out of dry ground—a desert, in a famine of the word of the Lord, Israel’s lowest ebb.

Could this really be the root, the stump of Jesse? The Messiah? we all asked.

Just couldn’t be. His own did not even receive Him! He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him!  Impossible.

Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfil the word of Isaiah the prophet:“Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed.”  (John 12:37-38)

Signs aplenty. Unbelief. Evidence. Unbelief.

·         Isa 53:2b   He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He came, not like David, as we expected! Not aggressive, not king-like, not conquering. Not like a loud politician or slick televangelist. So convincingly a human like all of us. And we were blind to his glory and perfectness. Because of our assumptions. We looked for a white swan but Yahweh sent a black one. Nothing in our experience prepared us for this one. Nothing, not even the earlier Hebrew prophecies, foreshadowed for us this surprising appearance on to the world’s stage. Nothing like this was expected as a possibility. His impact was epoch-making but visible only to those with eyes to see, with ears to hear, prepared to abandon assumptions.

·           Isa 53:3   He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

The creativity, the genius of Yahweh was so great, so unexpected, so different from our unholy assumptions, that we despised him. We did not want a man of suffering and familiar with pain. We did not want or think that God would make him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that only in him we might become the righteousness of God.

No ,we wanted our own righteousness. We would do it my way, our way. We saw no need that someone should suffer to be the Messiah.

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilledHe will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” Luke 18:31-33

Yes ,we listened to madness, to hell. We wanted anything but this man. Even Caesar! Even Barabbas! Three cheers for Judas. We all fled, hopes dashed, visions shattered. Alone he faced his despisers, his judges, his deriders, his torturers. We hid our faces. We closed our eyes.

We still do, maybe. Hide our faces, think about other, nice, things. What?

The Letter to Hebrews : Amazing design

A few of us are meeting weekly, a group of God-botherers, to flesh out and discuss together the astounding and surprising Biblical record,  and we have leapt from the Kingdom period of 900bc into the New Testament’s Letter to the Hebrews.

This is a passionate letter from an unnamed real person or persons (we have noted all the “we”s in the text) to a real community of Jewish believers in Jesus probably written before 70ad.

Here we find much ‘high Christology’ in our author’s attempt to warn his readers against abandoning Christ and turning back to their previous practices.

There is an amazing thing in this letter: there is no suggestion of any ritual, ceremonial or cultic which might have replaced the Judaism they had left behind, which you will remember, was God’s design for his people and up to that time.

Rather they are called simply to consider Jesus. He is enough, superior, perfect. And called to care for each other.

Though the language and content is different to the apostle Paul’s correspondence to non-Jews, the practices that are encouraged are very similar.

So for example, Like the Pauline letters, this one is addressed not to some church leader but to the whole community. There is no hint here (or anywhere in the whole New Testament) of any clergy class and laity class.

It was critical for these Hebrews to leave behind their familiar, God-given, Old Covenant traditions and hierarchical practices which were now obsolete in Messiah Jesus. The author takes much effort to show convincingly that Jesus and his way, is far superior to Moses and the whole sacrificial and priestly system, now obselete.

Then HOW MUCH MORE critical is it, that we today leave behind all human ideas in our churches. God, in his infallible wisdom has revealed to us in the New Testament that He has a much better, a far superior design to human attempts to worship Him.

Humans have made pagan additions: professional Christians and their trappings, religious CEOs and middle managers, boring, ordered, liturgised, ritualistic ‘worship services’, entertainments, and all those traditions and habits inherited from our forebears, all those cultural substitutions for God’s wisdom that abound everywhere.

We all called to be counter-cultural because of what Jesus has accomplished and deposited for us in his chosen apostles and their writings. We must obey and trust and determine to make him Lord, not only in our personal walk with God, but when we come together, as a body. Otherwise we end up arrogantly determined to continue with human ideas.

Do you think we can improve on the Lord’s great design for corporate life as his people? How appalling. Is that true worship? true acknowledgment of God’s worth?

No. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience is true worship.

Perhaps the greatest shame is the frequent way the Lord Jesus is kind of shut out of the meetings of his people and humans running the show, instead of Christ being the Head of his amazing design, his body, calling the shots, and the Holy Spirit prompting and inspiring the participants to share, edify, bring God’s word, heal, and care.

This wonderful design, which we see in this Letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Paul in his letters likens to the human body, with many members, each participating freely in the care and edification of one another and in the interests of God and the Body of Christ. Dare we continue to tempt the living God and His amazing grace by not honouring him in humble obedience?

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as they did long ago in the desert wanderings.

The Bible Story Conversation

Commencing next month, I am starting another small group project at my home at Ashgrove with the object of looking at the entire biblical message from Genesis to Revelation. This is a big project and will be rigorous. There will be some startling revelations as there will be stuff people don’t  get in regular Christendom.

We will meet to make conversation with one another and with its author about the teaching of the Scriptures.

This project will include much He has taught me and stimulated me deeply over the last couple of years, including uncovering the Messiah Jesus who has been overlaid for millennia by Big-Church, Christendom and commentators of a Greek mindset. There are many sayings of Jesus that we have in our English bibles which do not reflect accurately the Hebrew meaning. So much light will be shone on the difficult words of Jesus.

It’s a challenge to think like a Hebrew!

 There will be no assignments, no direct questions asked (lots of questions to the whole group though). And if you are new to all things Christian then there is a likelihood you won’t have to unlearn much. There is a cost involved. Not of money but of time, energy and commitment. He is worthy of that and more.

 This project is designed to yield not just data, the evidence, the facts, information, but also to make transformation, to come face to face with our Creator and Sustainer and Saviour.

Who would like to join with us in this great project? Do you know anyone else who might benefit from this offer? Please phone me ASAP on 33661633 if you want to join with us in this adventure or if you need more information. Our dining table is very limited for space. So last call.